Mexicans slam Arizona immigration law, but how do they treat their migrants?

As Mexico condemns the tough new Arizona immigration law, Amnesty International published a new report Wednesday that details abuse suffered by Central American migrants in Mexico - often at the hands of officials.

Alexandre Meneghini/AP/File
People cross the river Suchiate between Guatemala and Mexico, in the town of Hidalgo, Mexico, Feb. 23, 2007. On Wednesday, Amnesty International published a new report detailing the abuses suffered by Central American migrants in Mexico.

As Mexicans decry the Arizona immigration law and launch boycotts of Arizona, Amnesty International released a scathing new report urging Mexicans to look in the mirror.

“Invisible Victims: Migrants on the Move in Mexico” details the abuse faced by Central American migrants, who cross the southern border between Guatemala and Mexico, usually en route to the US.

Each year, tens of thousands of migrants make the trip.

IN PICTURES: The US/Mexico border

Many lose limbs from accidents on trains they board to head northward. Women and girls report sexual violence. And - far worse than asking suspected illegal immigrants about their US immigration status, as the new Arizona law will require police to do - many Central American migrants to Mexico accuse Mexican officials of demanding bribes or flat-out stealing their cash.

"Migrants in Mexico are facing a major human rights crisis leaving them with virtually no access to justice, fearing reprisals and deportation if they complain of abuses," Rupert Knox, Mexico Researcher at Amnesty International, said. "Persistent failure by the authorities to tackle abuses carried out against irregular migrants has made their journey through Mexico one of the most dangerous in the world."

Lately, as drug violence has soared, migrants have also been increasingly the victims of kidnapping.

Drawing on numbers from Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), Amnesty International says some 10,000 migrants were abducted over six months in 2009 – a record number. Almost half of those interviewed said that public officials were involved in their abductions.

Mexico promises to address the matter

As Mexican officials respond to the new immigration law in Arizona – the Mexican government has issued a “travel alert” for Mexicans living, working, and studying in Arizona – it also recognized the Amnesty International Report Wednesday and promised to address the situation.

In a statement released by the Secretary of Government, Mexico said it “shares the worry and recognizes the complexity and urgency to address the crime that some migrants face in our country,” it reads. “Organized crime has diversified… extending to other illicit activities that directly affects migrants, who, because of their vulnerability, have become targets of crimes such as kidnapping, smuggling, and extortion, creating new challenges for the institutional structure.”

IN PICTURES: The US/Mexico border


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